FEATURED POST

Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Image
The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Death penalty opponents heading to Columbus, Ohio

Ohio's death penalty is on hold, but the delay won't prevent more than 100 local anti-capital punishment activists from boarding buses Tuesday morning for a lobby day in Columbus.

Converging on the Statehouse from across Ohio, protesters will meet with lawmakers and present a letter signed by 200 faith leaders calling for an end to the death penalty.

"We are concerned with the injustices built into the system," said Sister Andrea Koverman, a Catholic nun and program manager at Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, Over-the-Rhine. "It is applied unfairly based on race, economics and geography."

Hamilton County has historically populated Ohio's death row in disproportionate numbers. Of the 139 convicted murders on death row today -- 138 men -- 24 are from Hamilton County and 21 from Cuyahoga County. Hamilton County's 0.6 executions per 100 homicide victims is double the rate of Cuyahoga and nine times that of Franklin County, home of metropolitan Columbus.

In October, Ohio delayed all scheduled executions until Jan. 12, 2017, when Ronald R. Phillips of Summit County is scheduled to die.

The delay resulted from Ohio's difficulty in obtaining lethal drugs that are necessary to carry out executions. The state's corrections department employed a combination of a sedative and a painkiller in the January 2014 execution of Dennis McGuire, of Preble County. The process took 25 minutes, and witnesses said McGuire seized and gasped for 15 minutes. He was convicted for the rape and murder of a pregnant woman in 1993.

Ohio has scheduled 25 executions, beginning in January, and eight of the condemned were sentenced in Hamilton County.

Ohio has executed 53 people since resuming capital punishing in 1999. A recent University of North Carolina study found that in 65 percent of the executions, the victim was white, although statewide 43 percent of all homicide victims are white. Additionally, murderers of white females are six times more likely to be executed than those people who kill black males.

Supporters of the death penalty in the Ohio General Assembly are determined to continue with capital punishment, even as the acquisition of sodium thiopental becomes more difficult. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections that attempts to buy the drug internationally would violate federal law.

In December 2014, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill that would provide 20-year confidentiality for pharmacies that prepared lethal formulations. Some Ohio lawmakers openly discussed the use of firing squads to carry out death sentences.

The sense in Columbus is once lethal drugs can be acquired legally that executions will resume.

Kasich has not wavered in his support of the death penalty, saying in a 2015 interview with NBC, "Listen, I review all the cases. And some people I've said we will let them stay for life in prison if I wasn't certain of who did what. ... I support the death penalty and will continue to do that, because a lot of times, families want closure and want to see justice done."

Kasich has commuted the death sentences of five inmates since 2011.


Source: cincinnati.com, April 11, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Iran: Three Hand Amputations, Four Hangings Carried Out in Qom

Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Nevada law says chief medical officer must advise on executions despite ethical clash

Iran: Woman Asylum Seeker Lashed 80 Times After Being Deported From Norway

Poorly executed - Indiana inmate challenges state's lethal cocktail change

Iran: Three executions carried out, two in front of large crowds

Two Myanmar migrants make final appeal in Koh Tao murder case

Gambia: President Barrow Signs Abolition Of Death Penalty Treaty

"I cannot execute convicted murderers," Tanzania's president declares

Judge warns death row inmate to keep Nevada's execution manual secret